The judge who presided over the trial of Saddam Hussein has reportedly been captured and killed by Sunni militants in Iraq.
The Daily Mail reports that Raouf Abdul Rahman, who sentenced Hussein to death in 2006, was captured by ISIS militants and executed sometime last week.
ISIS is an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Sunni-aligned militant group that opposes the Shiite majority government in Iraq. The group has captured numerous cities in the country in previous weeks and has promised to march on Baghdad.
The Iraqi government has not confirmed reports of Rahman’s execution but has not denied that he was captured.
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Khalil Attieh, a member of the Jordanian Parliament, posted a message on his Facebook page referring to the execution.
“Iraqi revolutionaries arrested him and sentenced him to death in retaliation for the death of the martyr Saddam Hussein,” Attieh wrote, according to the Macedonian International News Agency, or MINA.
Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a former deputy of Saddam Hussein, who has emerged as a leader among the ISIS militants, also posted on Facebook that rebels had captured the judge.
Rahman took over Hussein’s trial in January 2006 amid claims that Judge Rizgar Amin was being too lenient on the former dictator.
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Critics of Rahman said they believed he could not be impartial in the trial because members of his family were victims of a 1988 poisonous gas attack that killed 5,000 people and was believed to have been ordered by Hussein.
If news of the judge’s execution is confirmed, it would likely be seen as another sign that the Iraqi government has lost control of the growing insurgency.
The New York Post reports that residents of Baghdad are bracing for an attack. Despite calls from the Shiite-led government to defend the city, many are staying indoors and criticizing politicians, blaming them for the current violence.
“Our politicians have so far succeeded in one thing: They have created an atmosphere of distrust between the city’s Shiites and Sunnis,” one retail store owner in Baghdad said.
“Weapons are everywhere in the city. That tells me that instability is here, and disaster is on the way,” he added.